[Update: Neil Druckmann has confirmed on Twitter the show will follow Joel and Ellie, the co-protagonists of the original game. Original story below.]
The Last of Us was at one point going to be a movie, but now HBO has officially signed on to make it a TV show instead.
The series will be written by both the original game’s director and writer Neil Druckmann and Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin. Druckmann will also executive produce the series, alongside Carolyn Strauss (who has worked on Chernobyl and Game of Thrones) and Naughty Dog President Evan Wells.
PlayStation Productions, the studio built from the ground up to make movie and television adaptations of PlayStation franchises, will be co-producing the series with Sony Pictures Television. Beyond this, no release window was given in the exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Personally, I’d rather just see a new story in this universe than a retreading of the game’s. Even if I’m of the mind that The Last of Us’ post-apocalyptic universe is the significantly less interesting part of it compared to its characters and their complicated relationship, I just don’t see what value anyone gets out of remaking an already very cinematic game in television form.
“From the first time I sat down to talk with Craig I was equally blown away by his approach to narrative and his love and deep understanding of The Last of Us,” Druckmann said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. “With Chernobyl, Craig and HBO created a tense, harrowing, emotional masterpiece. I couldn’t think of better partners to bring the story of The Last of Us to life as a television show.”
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Hopefully this series will have better luck than the other Naughty Dog adaptation in the works right now, as the Uncharted movie has been faced with setback after setback since it was greenlit years ago. Only now has the movie really begun production in earnest, with a seventh director on board and new cast members like Antonio Banderas joining the movie in the past week.
If done right, a Last of Us TV show could follow in the footsteps of something like The Witcher, which has been pretty successful for Netflix since it launched back in December. It even helped the The Witcher III: Wild Hunt reach a new peak in player count after its eight episodes were released on the streaming service.
In the meantime, Last of Us fans have a new game to look forward to, as The Last of Us: Part II is coming to PlayStation 4 on May 29 after it was delayed from its original February release date. Since then, the game was pulled from its originally planned showing at PAX East last weekend, as Sony dropped out of the event due to concerns surrounding the Coronavirus.